Tonight, I sit on a bed that is a far cry from the posh, luxurious bed I opened my eyes to this morning.
I am in a room where the furniture truly should be tossed. In the garbage. I don’t even want to know how long it’s been here.
There’s a pool outside my door. But I have no plans to dip my toes in it. I don’t want to walk out my door until it’s time to head to the airport. I don’t feel safe and have no intention of unlocking the door. Not until I know I’m leaving. Not that this hotel will be offering turndown service like they did last night.
This trip was a last minute decision and this room was the option that made the most sense under the circumstances, even if it’s not making sense now. You see, there’s a promotion through one of the airlines I often fly offering a free companion pass to anyone who booked three roundtrip flights before May 17th. It hit me this week that I was just one flight short, and I was traveling right up until noon today, so I decided to book one more flight tonight. Only problem was I wouldn’t arrive in time to make the next flight home, so I’d have to stay overnight and fly home tomorrow.
It sounded reasonable at the time.
And I’m sure once I’m home tomorrow I’ll be incredibly happy to be able to have someone fly free with me wherever I go through the rest of the year (no blackout dates or exclusions!).
Right now, staring at these four walls of this not-at-all-deluxe hotel, I’m second-guessing myself.
A pal suggested I look at this as a reminder of how far I’ve come. He knows that the last time I stayed in a place this dumpy, it was the first night I spent in Panama City Beach as I arrived in town for my first job out of college. I will never forget the fear I felt at the ‘El Pine Motel’ that was a whopping $19/night. Everything I owned was in my car in the parking lot, just outside my door. I was alone and more than a little afraid when I heard an argument break out in the parking lot. I called 911. They asked if I was hurt. I said no. They told me to call back when I was. No kidding. Well, spoiler alert here…I made it through that night, and I’ve made it through a whole lot of other scary nights in the 20-something years since that happened.
You can honestly say I’ve come a long way, baby. A very long way.
Now I travel the world. Sometimes on my own. Sometimes with family or friends.
I am typically spoiled with some of the best accommodations and amenities you can dream of. People go out of their way to make sure I have a spectacular view and mouth-watering meals. They give me great stuff to write home about, so to speak. And don’t think for one second I don’t appreciate every bit of it. I do, because it wasn’t always like that for me.
I grew up poor. We were the family that lied to the hotel about how many people were going to be in that room when we took a road trip. And once we got where we were going, we stayed with relatives or we pitched a tent.
We didn’t take the kinds of trips my children are fortunate enough to enjoy so often. We still had good times. Believe me. But I didn’t get to board a plane until I was in college and paid for that trip with money I earned myself.
Now, because I booked this extra flight by the promotion deadline, and am staying in this very un-fancy room for the night, someone in my family will be able to fly with me for free—anywhere I go—for the rest of the year.
That’s a deal this wanderlust mama just couldn’t refuse, even if it means staying in a not-so-nice motel room for about 12 hours.
Wouldn’t you do the same?